It was a journey... and I'm still on it.
Getting to the place I am now was a journey...
And I'm not talking about my career or accomplishments although indeed that was a journey also. But I'm talking more about my mental and emotional state, that translates to my peace, confidence and personality.
It was a journey...
Like many young black women, we deal with the societal pressures that attempt to dictate the way we look at ourselves, the way we talk to ourselves and the way we treat ourselves. We struggle to find our identities and distinguish between our voice and the voice of the outside world..
Now combine that pressure with the difficulties of of obtaining a doctorate degree in a system that's set up for you to fail. Inadequate mentors combined with imposter syndrome and now not only do you not have a science identity but you now also are losing your own personal identity.
Now how does this manifest itself...
Well for me on top of horrible eating habits, weight gain, and honestly spending too many hours working trying to prove your worth... came anxiety, self-doubt, double guessing myself and my decisions.
I meet so many ppl who always say to me that they would never have guessed this silent battle was going on. To them I seemed confident, sure of my career choice, sure of myself! But really I was battling to stay afloat.
This blog post is not going to be about how I was frailing... But about how I dug myself out of it!
The biggest thing for me is that I knew I had to get my mojo back. I had to get back to a space in which I could live boldly, stand against adversity with grace, and not be easily frazzled.
I took the advice of some close friends and sought out a therapist. At first, I kept it pretty surface with my therapist. But idk how they do it but they have a way of easing in, making you dig deep, confront issues that you didn't even know you had. Next thing you know, I was boohoo-ing weekly. LOL
But the life-changing habit I picked up throughout this journey was: JOURNALING!
Man there is something about putting pen to paper and dumping all your thoughts and emotions on paper. There's something about reading back your words and seeing how you talk to yourself. We fail to realize the power of our words and how that in turn shapes our world.
I found that journaling does three things for me:
1. Reduces Stress
I didnt realize how stress was affecting my physical body. It was literally weighing on me, and legit causing me physical pain. But journaling help alleviate alot of that stress! I never did understand why my heart rate would slow down and anxiety would be at bay. Upon research i found that this is a real thing!!! In fact, a study showed that expressive writing (like journaling) for only 15 to 20 minutes a day three to five times over the course of a four-month period was enough to lower blood pressure and improve liver functionality. Honestly, I was just excited to find a method that allowed me to be calm and at peace.
2. Forces me to confront my emotions
Whew this was a big one for me! It's one thing to speak to a therapist and although you're being honest and open, you do tend to censor some of your thoughts. Deep down you still fear judgement. So writing my words down was the ultimate way to force me to confront my thoughts, feelings and emotions. Now, reading back my words would legit shock me at times. Like these are my thoughts? This is the way I speak to myself? NOT OK! Overtime, I started seeing my words speak more life. I started to see growth in my writing, love in my writing, confidence and boldness. I was slowly changing and it was well documented by just the way I speak to myself.
3. Keeps my memory sharp
Studies have shown that journaling helps keep your brain in tip-top shape. Not only does it boost memory and comprehension, it also increases working memory capacity. I also now have all my experiences well documented. Which I am truly considering making into a book 👀👀
This has been a journey... and I am honestly still on the journey of grasping wholeness. To be completely and utterly whole physically, mentally and emotionally.
In one of my recent devotions the author wrote that the goal is to not only be healthy in body but to be just as strong in spirit.
And that is the ultimate goal! I urge you all who may be struggling with dealing with the battles that many cant see, to grab a pen and paper and just get it out. You will be surprised the weight that is lifted from this simple task.
Until next time,
Love && Light ya'll